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It's going to be lit: NEON Festival returns to Norfolk, celebrating art in the city

After a year off, you'll be able to check out art exhibitions, local and national performances and mural tours in Norfolk's NEON District.

NORFOLK, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from March 2021.

After a year off, the NEON Festival in Norfolk is kicking off Thursday, showcasing the arts and creative community in the city for a fifth year.

The free festival takes place Oct. 21 and 22 in downtown Norfolk's NEON District, the city's first official art district. You'll be able to check out art exhibitions, local and national performances, and mural tours.

Since the festival started in 2015, it has been a platform for over 300 artists and performers through exhibitions, community programs, and events tied to the annual celebration.

If you plan to go to the festival, here's a partial schedule of what's going down:

Thursday

To kick off the festival, the Chrysler Museum of Art will have live music, food trucks and activities, including glow yoga on the lawn at 7 p.m. The music acts are Virginia Arts Festival’s steel drum band The Rhythm Project, Trio Atomic, and BTG Artist Collective.

Several groups, including the Poetry Society of Virginia and Virginia Zoo, will have community programming inside and outside the Chrysler Museum of Art. This takes place from 5 to 9 p.m.

There will be mural tours at 6:30 and 8 p.m., leaving from the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio.

Glass After Dark will premiere at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio from 8 to 10 p.m. This is where artists take hot glass to exciting places. Psych-rock band Berries will play. Admission is free with advance tickets.

Friday

The 757 Street Art Battle is a live painting contest judged by local professional artists. There will be live music and a craft workshop from Lil Truck of Tools and 757 Creative Reuse Center. This takes place from 6 to 9 p.m.

The 757 Makerspace Interactive Art Exhibit at the Cofer lot will feature more than 20 local artists’ art installations on view for judging by the public. This takes place from 6 to 10 p.m.

You can see pop-up art galleries at the Hugh R. Copeland Center, Virginia Furniture storefront windows, and 717 Granby Street featuring local NEON artists and Norfolk State University students.

There will also be mural tours at 6:30 and 8 p.m. leaving from the Plot, located at 776 Granby Street.

The Plot will have a beer garden with Smartmouth Brewing Company, food trucks, and Norfolk Currents pop up. Teens with a Purpose, Governor’s School for the Arts, and others will perform, closing the night with a dance party with DJ Can Rock at 9 p.m.

For a full schedule and more information, visit the NEON Festival's website.

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